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Shiba Inu Dog Breed Information

The Shiba Inu is a hunting dog bred in Japan. Its history is about two and a half thousand years old. Modern representatives of the breed often act as companions. An inquisitive and friendly disposition allows them to get along well with the owner, but the animals are wayward, they require competent training. Since 1936, Shiba Inu has been recognized as the property of Japan. Integral character, high intellectual level, and special strength have made these animals popular among dog breeders. Being the owner of such a pet is not easy, but if you gain his respect and trust, you will get a lot of pleasure from communicating with an intelligent and inquisitive friend. The breed is suitable for experienced dog handlers, but as the first dog, the Shiba Inu with its complex disposition is not the best option.

Brief Information

  • Breed name: Shiba Inu
  • Country of origin: Japan
  • Time of origin of the breed: III century BC e.
  • Weight: males 9-14 kg, females 8-13 kg
  • Height (height at the withers): males 40 cm, females 37 cm
  • Life span: 12-15 years

Key Facts

  • Animals of this breed are distinguished by high intelligence and strong character.
  • Shiba Inu are terrible owners, they categorically do not like to share.
  • Dogs are very clean, deliberately avoid dirt, lick themselves thoroughly.
  • Shiba Inu are difficult to train, claims to be a leader, and constantly test the owner for strength.
  • One person is recognized as the leader, with the rest they keep at a distance.
  • Puppies require early socialization, otherwise, the dog does not lend itself to education.
  • Avoids bodily contact, is sensitive to personal space, actively protects it.
  • Sibas are very inquisitive, active, and become excellent travel and sports companions.
  • Shiba Inu does not get along with babies, the breed is recommended for children over 10 years old.


Archaeologists have found the remains of dogs of a similar type, dating back to 4-3 centuries BC. The Shiba Inu breed belongs to the Spitz group, it has all the characteristics inherent in them: sharp erect ears, a special tail shape, thick two-level coat. According to experts, the progenitors of the Shiba Inu were brought to the Japanese islands from China or Korea, and already in the course of crossing with the aborigines, the existing standard was formed. Being a close relative of the Akita Inu, the Shiba is characterized by smaller sizes. The relationship of the breeds is genetically confirmed.

Until the middle of the 19th century, Japan was a closed country, and the Shiba Inu was bred only in this territory. With the overcoming of isolation, the dogs came to Asia and Europe, where dog handlers appreciated the sharp mind and excellent hunting qualities of animals. To improve these characteristics, breeders began to practice active crossbreeding of Shiba with Pointers and Setters. The lack of a standard and haphazard selection led to the loss of the breed, it almost completely disappeared in the city. By the beginning of the 20th century, the leading dog breeders were engaged in the problem of Siba Inu. Aboriginal species survived only in remote rural areas, they became the basis for the restoration of the tribal gene pool.

In 1928, it was decided to take measures aimed at preserving the purity of the breed and restoring its numbers. The main selection criteria were erect triangular ears, deep-set eyes, dense two-tier hair, and a tail, which is sharply curled behind the back.

By 1934, dog handlers managed to form standards and isolate a tribal skeleton. In 1936, the breed was declared a national treasure of Japan, breeders in the historical homeland of the Shiba Inu prevented the extinction and degeneration of animals. The Second World War had a negative impact on the gene pool: many dogs were killed, during the hostilities, kennels were damaged. After the establishment of peace, systematic work on the restoration of the breed began again. The epizootic situation complicated the situation: the plague epidemic broke out, which significantly reduced the ranks of the four-legged.

The pre-war breed included dozens of Shiba varieties, the cataclysms that occurred left only three subtypes in sufficient quantity for selection: mino, san-in, and shin-shu. Being a primordially Japanese breed, the modern Shiba Inu is the result of the directed selection of these particular animals.

The first branch had the greatest influence on the formation of the Shiba Inu: they have a similar conformation of ears and tail. With shin-shu dogs are related by the reddish-sand color of the coat, the structure of the guard hair, and the fluffy undercoat. The representatives of the breed took a massive skeleton and body structure from the San-in, but the Shiba Inu is smaller in size. The resulting hybrid gained wide popularity among the Japanese. In the conditions of dense urban development, this animal with its small size and decorative exterior has become a favorite of many families.

By the early 80s, the breed was widely spread abroad, and in 1992 it was recognized by the American associations AKC and UKC. Thick coat, unusual fox appearance, sharp mind, activity, and curiosity are not a complete list of the advantages that allowed the Shiba Inu to gain enviable popularity among breeders. Today her role as a hunter has faded into the background, putting forward the role of a companion in the main role.


Shiba Inu has a strong skeleton, harmoniously built, the general constitution shows the endurance and massiveness of the ancestors, who had to spend many hours hunting. Representatives of the breed have strong paws of medium size, a triangular head, similar in shape and location of eyes to a fox.

  • Dimensions
    Males at the withers range from 38-41 cm, weight ranges from 9 to 14 kg. Bitches are smaller, the height of individuals is 35-38 cm, weight is from 8 to 13 kg. The Shiba Inu dog is well balanced, lean, the tail is wrapped in a ring over the back.
  • Head
    A flat forehead is often with a longitudinal line, at the base of the muzzle is thickened, closer to the nose it sharpens, in shape and color it resembles a fox. The eyes of the Shiba Inu are small, close-set, have a slight slope, as a rule, brown. Erect ears are a distinctive feature of the Shiba, they are dense to the touch, slightly turned forward, with a characteristic triangular shape. Animals have a strong muscular neck, emphasizing the solidity of the figure. Characterized by a scissor bite and firm, good teeth. The nose is straight back, predominantly black in color.
  • Housing
    The dog is massive, prone to prolonged exertion, has good health and endurance. A straight and strong back ends with a muscular loin. The breed is characterized by a moderately wide chest, a medium bend of the ribs, and a lean stomach. All parts of the body of the Shiba Inu are harmonious in size, individuals have a strong and lively constitution.
  • Limbs
    The paws of the Shiba Inu are proportional to the body, sufficiently dense and large, of medium length. In the forelimbs, the shoulder blades have a moderate slope, the elbows are located closer to the body, oriented strictly backward. An active lifestyle clearly affected the hind legs, they have developed muscles, elongated thighs, and short legs. The high mobility of the Shiba Inu is explained by the massive hock joints, the softness of the form is retained by the moderately pronounced articulation angles. The paws are distinguished by good elasticity, the nails are predominantly dark in color, the toes are tightly compressed, and protrude in relief.
  • Tail
    The tail is one of the important criteria for the Shiba Inu breed. Curled up into a well-defined ring, set high, can reach the hock in length, covered with dense hair, rather thick.

Coat and Color

  • Color
    There are three main types of Shiba Inu color: red, zoned or sesame, black, and tan, silver, or red. An obligatory component for participation in exhibitions is Arashiro – a special pattern that creates a lighter coat on the cheekbones, neck, lower chest, and abdomen. The lighter areas should also be located on the inner paws and the lower part of the tail.

The gradation of the sesame color is interesting, there are three main directions:

  • red sesame (or sesame) is a mixture of red and black hair, more often red hair with a black edge;
  • black sesame – black wool prevails over a small number of light hairs;
  • sesame (sesame): an equal number of black and white hairs.

Too light color, sandy and white shades are considered a marriage of the breed. A bright red, rich, and rich color is most desirable.

  • Wool

Thick and two-tiered wool is a real decoration of the Shiba Inu. Soft and dense undercoat gives the dog a special charm. The second layer is represented by a hard guard hair, it is straight, significantly raised above the undercoat.

  • Disqualifying defects

Particular attention is paid to the color of the Shiba Inu, individuals of light sand color, cream and white are not allowed to the exhibition. Also, for exhibition copies, you need an Arashiro.

Sagging ears are a disqualifying factor, this characteristic is one of the leading in breed identification. The shape and size of the tail matter: its insufficient length will not allow the pet to participate in competitions. Defects also include its sagging, the absence of a characteristic bend ring.

It is important to comply with the size of the standard: males of small sizes and females corresponding to the dimensions of males are not allowed to exhibitions. Much attention is paid to the oral cavity, the absence of a large number of teeth will cause disqualification, and the dog should not have undershot or undershot. Of the behavioral characteristics of the Shiba Inu, cowardice and aggressiveness are unacceptable.


The Shiba Inu is distinguished by a strong and willful character, the dog requires a firm hand and a confident owner. Inclined to dominate, she will constantly check if the leader’s place is vacant and try to take it. The animal is distinguished by an average degree of activity, it is quite adapted for living in an apartment in a megalopolis. However, the dog will feel most comfortable with an active owner who loves regular physical activity. The dog prefers long walks and will be an excellent companion in nature trips.

The Shiba Inu breed is primitive, so the representatives have very strong instincts developed over centuries of evolution. Even well-educated trained individuals, in the heat of the hunt, completely forget about the owner, do not hear the commands, therefore experienced dog handlers recommend walking the Shiba Inu only on a leash to avoid unpleasant situations.

Pets are very sensitive to personal space, behave like avid owners. When an attempt is made on their things and food, they are able to show aggression, actively defend their position. Sibu is not recommended for families with small children, because violation of the boundaries of the animal can lead to negative consequences. Cynologists recommend bringing a dog of this breed to a house where children are over 10 years old.

Due to the possessive nature of the Shiba Inu, it does not get along well with other pets, the desire to dominate, and the constant struggle for resources will lead to conflicts and bullying the second pet. It is important to remember that the Shiba Inu is primarily a hunter, so whatever is possible will be caught and eaten. He treats cats as prey, so with a high probability, the second pet will be slaughtered.

Possessing a bright and independent character, representatives of the breed, as a rule, choose one master for themselves and obey him. Dogs are smart and cunning, if necessary, they will defend their own interests by all means, so the owner must understand the animal well and be able to handle it competently. Physical violence is absolutely excluded, an aggressive approach negatively affects the psyche of the Shiba Inu, makes the dog unbalanced and vicious.

The breed is not recommended for beginners, animal training requires patience and experience, so it makes sense even for an experienced breeder to turn to the help of a dog handler who knows how to work with a Shiba. The dog is independent, distrustful of strangers, keeps them at a distance, it needs time to get to know and accept a new person.

Like their ancestors, wolves, Shiba Inu are extraordinary owners. Their place on the sofa, ball, bowl, owner, the yard is taboo for other animals and people. If necessary, the animal actively goes into conflict, protects its things. When planning to take a puppy, you need to be prepared for such situations.

Education and Training

Due to the nature of the character, raising a Shiba Inu is not an easy task. It is important for the owner to assert and constantly maintain authority. An inquisitive and active disposition often pushes dogs to leprosy, but it is quite difficult to punish a Shiba Inu. Forceful methods of upbringing are unacceptable, and the pet tries to neutralize the effects of a psychological nature by behavior. Possessing bright charisma, the Shiba can reproduce a variety of sounds, in its arsenal squeaks, whimpers, squeals, grunts, and even croaks. A signature smile can melt the heart of even a very strict owner. The dog actively uses the entire set of techniques to avoid punishment, perceives cases of loss as a tactical failure, and seeks ways to insist on his own.

Training requires a lot of patience and understanding of the breed’s characteristics. So, if a dog is carried away by some smell, it is almost impossible to get attention from it. Experienced dog handlers actively use the curiosity of the animal, turning the learning process into a game. High intelligence allows the Shiba Inu to solve even very complex problems, however, a wayward character is often an obstacle to full-fledged training.

It is important to understand that animals have a negative attitude towards personal contact, possess possessive tendencies and are very freedom-loving, therefore, from an early age, the Shiba Inu must be educated and socialized. Untrained adults are difficult to train, do not tolerate tactile contact. This breed will be an ideal companion for strong, charismatic people who are confident in themselves and understand what they want from life.

Hardy and active, the Shiba will be happy to practice coursing, dog-frisbee, canine freestyle, agility.

Care and Maintenance

Although dogs of this breed are not picky about food, the food must be balanced and contain all the necessary elements. Considering the origin of the animal, fish, seafood, rice, and algae must be included in the diet of the Shiba Inu. Wheat, corn, chicken, and beef are given with caution – these products can cause allergies. Eggs, smoked meats, chocolate, and sweets are strictly prohibited, they negatively affect the digestive tract and the vascular system of the dog. The Shiba Inu diet can be enriched with vegetables. These pets do not eat much, so special attention should be paid to the quality of the feed.

A dense coat with a dense undercoat requires care and maintenance. Usually, it is enough to comb the animal once a week, but during the molting period, the procedure is necessary every day. It is more advisable to carry out it outdoors, combing is performed against the growth of the coat, it is easier to remove hair and stimulate blood flow to the skin.

The Shiba Inu cover is water-repellent, and the dog itself is very clean, so it is bathed no more than once a month. After a walk, it is enough to wait until the wool is dry and the dirt will crumble by itself. The animal actively licks itself and, for its love of cleanliness, can quite compare with a cat.

The Shiba Inu breed is genetically predisposed to eye diseases (retinal atrophy, eyelid volvulus, cataract, conjunctivitis), therefore, daily monitoring of the condition is necessary. A healthy individual has clean, shiny eyes, without extraneous secretions. Morning lumps after sleep are acceptable, they should be removed with a soft damp cloth. If the dog has already had cases of inflammation of the conjunctiva, it is necessary to rinse the eyes with a decoction of chamomile once a week. With the appearance of swelling, purulent discharge from the lacrimal lake, redness of the eyelids, the help of a veterinarian is urgently needed.

Dog ears need a weekly check-up, and if earwax builds up, remove it with a damp swab. Healthy ears are dense, pleasant pink color, without foreign inclusions. If the dog shakes his head, constantly scratches his ears, there is excessive discharge – all this is a reason to contact the veterinarian.

Shiba Inu claws do not need to be trimmed more often than once a month and must be filed additionally to avoid burrs. If the plates are too stiff and do not lend themselves to cutting pliers, you can hold the pet’s limbs in warm water.

The paws require inspection after each walk, possible abrasions and cuts are treated with antiseptics, and the pads are washed with warm water. If the skin is dry and cracked, you need to additionally lubricate it with oil.

The thick and dense coat of the Shiba Inu is a great place for ectoparasites, so special attention must be paid to sanitation. Examine your dog after every walk for ticks and other insects. A visit to the veterinarian is needed even when infected with banal fleas: only a specialist can correctly select a set of treatment measures, taking into account the weight and age of the dog.

Shiba Inu, like other purebred dogs, need regular anthelmintic measures. Adults undergo the procedure 4 times a year; in puppies, the treatment is related to the vaccination schedule.


The Shiba Inu breed is distinguished by excellent health, which is not surprising, given the history of its origin. The hardiest and strong individuals were selected for hunting, and a developed intellect was encouraged. The animal does not have characteristic genetic diseases; the average life span of the Shiba is 15-16 years. The high-quality gene pool confirms the fact that the Shiba Inu was entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest-living dog. She was 26 years old, and until the last days, she remained active and curious.

Among the most common diseases are disorders of the musculoskeletal system:

  • dysplasia or underdevelopment of the hip joint;
  • osteochondritis dissecans;
  • dislocation of the kneecaps;
  • shortened in comparison with the standard spine.

Shiba Inu is characterized by eye problems, the following disorders are common:

  • dying off of the retina with progressive development;
  • entropion;
  • the inflammatory process of the vascular system of the eye;
  • cataract.

Some individuals suffer from systemic diseases. The Shiba Inu had cases of von Willebrand disease (bleeding disorders and spontaneous bleeding), thyroid diseases associated with a lack of hormone production.

Representatives of the breed may suffer from pigmentation disorders, which manifests itself in premature graying, widespread vitiligo.

Particular attention should be paid to food since Shiba Inu have allergic reactions to foods that are not typical of their diet. An unbalanced diet also affects the quality of the coat, leading to its premature shedding.

How to Choose a Puppy


You need to purchase a pet from professional breeders. Before buying a Shiba Inu, it makes sense to drive directly to the place where the puppies live and develop. It is very helpful to see the mother and, if possible, the father. Parents should assess the following factors:

  • individuals must fit into the standard sizes provided for breakdowns;
  • the presence of sharp, triangular, well-standing ears;
  • there should be no rejection by color, the presence of Arashiro is desirable;
  • the tail, twisted into a pronounced ring, without kinks, reaches the middle of the joint.

Good parenting genetics determines the health and appearance of the future pet. If the bitch has already had offspring, you should ask about his photos, evaluate how the puppy will look when it grows up. An additional bonus will be the fact that already grown individuals participate in exhibitions, have awards for the exterior. Achievements from parents also indicate a good potential of children.

It is important that the Shiba Inu family is kept by the breeder at home. The socialization of puppies from birth determines their disposition, getting along with people, the ability to get along with children. If the animals are brought up in an open-air cage, there will be a high probability of problems with adaptation and training.

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